Last week, Sufjan Stevens released a new video for his song ‘Mystery of Love’, which he penned for the Luca Guadagnino film Call Me By Your Name. This is Sufjan, near his etherial best.
A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 1998 in no particular order:
Honourable mentions also go to: Air for ‘La Femme D’Argent‘; Elliott Smith for ‘Waltz#2‘; Eels for ‘Last Stop: This Town‘; People Under The Stairs for ‘San Francisco Nights‘: The Beta Band for ‘Dry The Rain‘; and Massive Attack for ‘Teardrop‘.
And now to a different strand of the mythical folk rock genre. Brooklyn’s Big Thief balances the singer-songwriter’s storytelling with indie rock. Their debut album’s title track ‘Masterpiece’ sums it up. Adrianne Lenker sings: “There’s only so much letting go you can ask someone to do.”
Keeping to the contemporary theme this week… there is more than a slight resemblance of Matt Berninger’s baritone and his dystopian outlook in today’s sound. But this is not The National; instead I present Londoner John Joseph Brill’s recent single ‘I’m Not Alright’.
Ten years ago, Beirut were in their pomp. Originally a musical project of Santa Fe native Zach Condon, the band’s first performance was in New York in May 2006, to support the release of their debut album, Gulag Orkestar. By January 2007, they carried their critical acclaim into the release of their first EP Lon Gisland. Its opening track ‘Elephant Gun’ again combined elements of indie rock and world music so successfully. Prodigious stuff; Condon was still only 20. Have a great week.
Badly Drawn Boy’s album The Hour of Bewilderbeast seemingly came out of nowhere in 2000. Critics told us that he took his cues from from Harry Nilsson and Beck. Listeners simply found themselves lost in the observational baroque pop of Damon Gough. ‘Once Around The Block’ was released a year earlier as the first single off the album.
The singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey is a founding member of the band Portico Quartet. ‘Cucurucu’ was his fourth release after leaving the group in 2011 to go solo. It features on his first studio album First Mind, which, like the work of Portico Quartet, also received a Mercury Music Prize nomination. Mulvey has previously revealed that the song’s title is a meaningless noise a child would make, but to these ears, the salsa-infused sound has more to do with the time he spent studying music in Havana. A salsa infusion as it would be sung by Ian Brown, that is.
I’ve noticed my start to the year is a little solemn. There’s no changing the low key today. Cass McCombs released ‘Opposite House’ as the the first single from last year’s long player Mangy Love. Angel Olsen provides backing vocals on the chorus. “Oh why/Why does it rain inside?” they sing. Have a great weekend.
Singer-songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan is an established artist on the American indie folk circuit. This year, he used this platform to do something far more interesting to these ears. He has run his brand of Americana through a Beatles/Nilsson blender. It is difficult for me to listen ‘Little Movies’ without thinking of George Harrison. It’s real good and features on the LP Silver Tears.